The World SSP rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) began a new season in Australia today, being fourth in FP1 but surviving the fastest fall of his life in FP2.
According to Soomer, FP1 this morning went very well. He is starting the fresh season on Yamaha and in a new team, Kallio Racing. "Although Krummenacher and several fast riders did not participate, my time was fourth, and despite the puddles on the track and the pass that I made, I was close to the time I was riding in the test," Soomer said.
At the start of the second free practice session, the team planned to try to make some changes to the front of the bike, and later to simulate the race by making eight quick laps, then a pit-stop, followed by eight more laps.
According to Soomer, however, the intentions had to be abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances. Right at the start, the training was interrupted with red flags, because birds were on the track. But then Soomer himself and Steven Odendaal caused the red flag to raise. "Cluzel spilled oil in the first turn, but I was not aware of this, no flags were out, so I survived the fastest fall of my life," Soomer said. At about 200 km/h, the bike went down and Soomer was happy that no bones were broken by the crash.
The team was able to put the bike together while oil was being removed from the track, and the training session ended with the 13th result for Soomer. “Considering all circumstances, it was a fifty-sixty day. We lost time on repairs and a tire that had been used only for a couple of laps, which is very important in Australia, as it is the only race where you have to make a pit-stop before the 10th lap and change at least the rear tire, ” Soomer summed up today's events.
The fastest in today's free practices was Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) with the 1'32.894 lap-time. Soomer's 13th result was 1.537 seconds slower.
On Saturday, in Phillip Island Soomer will ride the third free practice of the season opener at 01:35 (Estonian time), the Superpole qualifying starts at 03:55 and Sunday's race at 04:15.
The 13 Round series will close on October 11 in Argentina.
Photographs: Mike and Elina Speight.